Monday, February 29, 2016

Say "Cheese!"

Raclette NYC
195 Avenue A
b/t 1 th & 13th Streets
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If you are not familiar with raclette, I thought I'd provide with the official definition:
Raclette is a semi-firm cow's milk. It is most commonly used for melting. It is also a Swiss/French dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off the melted part. 

I first heard of and enjoyed raclette while on a trip to France with my brother and my mom.  We ventured off the beaten path in Lyon to a raclette restaurant and our jaws dropped when we walked in and saw a giant wheel of cheese under a heater.  Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!  
The server brought the entire block of cheese over to our table and "racler" or scrapes the melted cheese onto our plates.  It's traditionally served with roasted potatoes, cured meats, cornichons, and white onions.  

I thought I'd also provide you with a few "Miss Menu" definitions:

Raclette / Holy shit, melted cheese for dinner!
Raclette / A tiny, adorable, delicious restaurant in Alphabet City.  It seats 14 people, is usually booked solid every night for dinner, and is the source of the best meal I've had so far in 2016!

The space is so tiny, and that's even after some recent remodeling, that you have to turn sideways to get to the bathroom.  But what they lack in square footage, they make up for in so many ways. 

1 - The food
What we ordered...
Savoyarde - Raclette cheese, melted and scraped tableside, roasted potatoes, cornichons, pickled white pearl onions, sliced baguette, and arugula salad with champagne vinaigrette

Croque Americain - Caramelized onions, leek fondue, roasted garlic, & white english cheddar on toasted pain poilane
Our server recommended this croque, and described it as French onion soup in sandwich form.  She wasn't joking.  And it was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had - I didn't want it to end!

Photos do not do the entire raclette experience any justice. So, I present to you scraping/"racler" in action! 

2 - The service
The server was friendly, so helpful in explaining the different menu options, and so knowledgeable about the different types of cheeses they have available.

3 - Fun dining experience
You can watch the cheese start to melt and bubble under the heater.  You can hold back your drool as she scrapes the melty goodness onto your plate.  While both incredible on their, they were made even better with Raclette being BYOB!

In addition to ordering from the options on the menu, you can also build your own raclette with a variety of different meats, cheeses, and veggies. 

I am definitely going back to try more of these out very soon! Raclette, je t'aime!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Midtown East's Restaurant Salvation

It feels like half of my Facebook and Instagram feeds are restaurant or food-related these openings, recipes, and, of course, photos galore.  And I am perfectly ok with that!   For months leading up to the opening of April Bloomfield's latest venture, I couldn't believe how much press the Salvation Burger opening was getting.  I was definitely eager to check it out.   

AB and I were trying to figure out where to go for dinner, and she mentioned being in the mood for a burger.  Immediately, Salvation Burger came to mind.  While I usually spend entirely too much time researching restaurants when I'm making plans, this was such a quick decision. I'll take it! 

The space was previously Pop@Pod in the Pod Hotel, and some of the design/d├ęcor remained the same.  But, now there are more tables in the back, an open kitchen, and a lot of cow images everywhere.  It was fun to watch April and the other chefs and cooks at work on a pretty busy Saturday night.  We had to wait about 40 minutes, but there plenty of space in the bar area to grab a drink while we waited.

Once we were seated, it didn't take long to figure out what we wanted to order, as the menu is pretty small: 3 snacks, 4 salads, 5 burgers, 6 pies...and a few boozy shakes.  I did think the options for sides were pretty limited, but I guess most people want fries with their burgers and just go for that option.  And that's just what we did. 

What we ordered...

Classic Burger: double patty 3.5 oz, special sauce, and pickles on a house-made bun

Fish on Bun: crispy tempura-style fluke filet with cabbage and tartar sauce. Had to fork-and-knife this one, it was massive. 

Our sandwiches with a hefty side of fries

Only 2 blocks from my apartment, Salvation Burger is definitely a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.  And I'll take any and all great restaurants that we can, anything to counter-act the Panda Express that is slated to open on the same block!

230 East 51st Street
b/t 2nd & 3rd Avenues
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why Walk When You Can [Food] Crawl

As a gift for two birthdays and one Chanukah, and many random days in between, Adam has asked for me to write a post for Miss Menu.  Isn't he sweet?!  So, Adam, happy belated birthday(s) and Chanukah!  Better late than never, right?  So here goes nothin' first post in 2 years...

A few weeks ago, we were having trouble deciding what type of food we wanted for dinner.  What else is new!  So rather than pick a restaurant and enjoy a relaxing meal, we decided to go on a food crawl in the East Village.  And it was glorious...and gluttonous!

Stop 1 - Baohaus
238 East 14th Street
b/t 2nd & 3rd Avenues
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What we ordered...
Chairman Bao: Braised all natural Berkshire pork belly served with Haus Relish, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro
Birdhaus Bao: All natural fried chicken. Brined 24 hours, served with Haus Seasoning Salt, lemon-garlic aioli, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro

I asked for my Birdhaus bao with no peanuts, and the cashier quickly asked me if I was allergic. I was really caught off-guard by the question, so I just answered "yes."  Then as we waited for them to make our baos, we realized what answering "yes" would mean.  They had to put on new gloves, wipe down the entire prep area, and use new utensils.  I felt so terrible!  But good to know from any of you with peanut allergies that they take it really seriously.  Both were delicious.  Stop 1 was definitely a success.
Stop 2 - Mimi Cheng's Dumplings
179 Second Avenue
b/t 11th & 12th Streets

What we ordered...
The Mighty Veggie: kale, zucchini, egg, shiitake mushroom, and carrots
Mimi's Secret Sauce: A spruced-up Sriracha
We got them pan-fried, and they took a REALLY long time to come out.  But it was worth the wait, great flavor.  And that sauce!  You can also order them boiled.
Stop 3 - Taqueria Diana
129 Second Avenue
b/t 7th Street & St. Marks Place

What we ordered...
Pollo nachos - chips, beans, cheese, salsa, jalapenos, guacamole, and crema
This photo doesn't even begin to do these nachos any justice.  They are MASSIVE.  It's literally served in a baking tin...and probably an 8"x12".  We saw a group of five sharing an order, and there we were, just the two of us, going to town all on our own!   The size is not the only thing these nachos have going for them. 

I can confidently say that they are the best nachos I've ever had in my life.  The shredded chicken is so flavorful and tender.  The chips are super crunchy after the whole tray goes under the broiler to melt the cheese.  I've been recommending these things everyone who asks if I've had any good meals lately! 

Stop 4 - Wafels & Dinges
209 East 2nd Street
@ Avenue B

What we ordered...
De Apple of my Pie Waffle: Grandma-style with dulce de leche, chunky apple jam, whipped cream, and cinnamon sugar
De Throwdown Waffle: Legendary victor of the battle with the great Bobby Flay, with spekuloos spread, whipped cream, and spekuloos cookie crumble
First of all, that was insane to order two waffles after all of the above-mentioned food.  Not sure who we thought we were!  Don't worry, though, we didn't finish both of them.  Because that's what would have made this food crawl over the top...and not the hundreds of bites that came before that! 

The popularity and number of the Wafels & Dinges trucks speak to how delicious they are.  The scent wafting off of the trucks that are located around the city and the scent of the entire brick & mortar location in Alphabet City is just heavenly.  I'm so glad they have spread the word around New York about how good spekuloos is.  It's my second-favorite spread, after Nutella, of course!
All in all, I think this food crawl was a success!  Such a great way to try a few different places, and it definitely makes for a fun evening hopping from place to place, especially on a nice night.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

S'more S'MAC Please

A few weeks ago, I went to my first Knicks game of the season with AL and DB, and it definitely was the right game to go to! Carmelo broke the Knicks scoring record with 62 points.  And, I got to see former Hoosier Cody Zeller play on the Bobcats.

We were considering trying some of the new food vendors at MSG, but decided to hold out for a late night treat: mac & cheese at S’MAC. 

I had been to the East Village location for lunch years ago, but never to this newer Murray Hill location. It definitely attracts a younger, rowdier crowd at 11pm on a Friday. Luckily by time got up to the counter to order, a table opened up for us.

Despite the temptation to order giant skillets of mac, we were all sensible and went with the “nosh” size. 

While some of the topping combos were tempting, I was really in the mood for a more classic mac. So, I ordered the 4 Cheese, which includes cheddar, muenster, gruyere and pecorino.  

AL ordered the Alpine, which was made with gruyere and slab bacon. 

DB ordered the Cheeseburger, which was made with American and cheddar cheeses combined with seasoned ground beef.  

All of us really enjoyed the food. Each cast iron skillet comes straight out of the oven, so you know that it's fresh and piping hot.  They time it perfectly to allow the cheese to get perfectly golden brown.  Crispy, but not overdone. 

I definitely see the draw of S’MAC for these college kids (guessing Baruch?)....hearty portions of mac & cheese and reasonably priced beer and wine.  Plus they’re open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.  Mac & cheese as late-night food? Sounds like a glorious alternative to pizza!

If that’s not the kind of atmosphere you have in mind, I’d suggest stopping in on a weeknight instead.  Otherwise you may just get s’mac-ed around!

157 East 33rd Street
b/t 3rd & Lexington Avenues

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Year, New Post

One of my new year’s resolutions was to finally get back to posting on Miss Menu. And while it may be a few weeks late, I still consider this resolution kept! 

With DB and AP in town this weekend, I’m hoping our plans for some fantastic meals will be exactly what I need to get back to posting regularly. So without further ado, I bring you Miss Menu’s first post of 2014!! 

Since the beginning of this brutal winter, I have wanted to finally try Hide-Chan, a Japanese ramen spot only one avenue from my apartment. It’s crazy that it has been open for a few years now, and I hadn’t made it there yet. But the second appearance of everyone’s favorite Polar Vortex was the perfect reason for us to try a hot bowl of soup. 

After a 15 minute wait on the unheated steps leading up to the restaurant’s 2nd floor location, our name was called and we opened the door to a warm, cozy and terrific smelling space. 

Up first were homemade dumplings with cheese. I think this is the first time I have seen cheese a) on dumplings, and b) in a Japanese restaurant. It was strangely delicious, although with melted cheese and a tomato dipping sauce, it tasted a bit more like Italian food than Japanese!
dumplings pork cheese Japanese

Our ramen bowls quickly followed. I ordered the Vegetable Ramen, and chose firm noodles.
This colorful bowl included corn, cauliflower, bell peppers, and avocado in a konbu seaweed and shitake based broth. It was very light, but needed more flavor and some heat. So I requested some “spicy red sauce” for $1.50 extra – definitely worth it. 

AL ordered the Tonkatsu Miso Ramen, with giant pieces of pork, corn, scallions, and a hard-boiled egg in miso sauce broth with wavy noodles.
ramen soup japanese
I tried a sip of the broth (ignoring the pork base for a second) and it had a delicious, rich flavor. 

Everything was good, but didn’t quite wow us as much as we were expecting. I do wish they had at least one chicken-based ramen on the menu. But it was great to finally try a neighborhood spot and perfect for thawing out over hot, spicy soup on a frigid night!

Hide-Chan Ramen
248 East 52nd Street
b/t 2nd & 3rd Avenues
Menu Pages listing